Leadership has come naturally to me, even when I was young. My 25-year-old daughter told me just the other day that I was bold. That confused me because I always saw my actions and leadership as a way to help other people, and the more people I could help the better. Just the idea that I would be helping more people made me bolder than I might be naturally because it wasn’t about me, it was about the other person or in my case, sometimes it was about the environment. Fortunately, I’m comfortable speaking in front of a group, I’m passionate about making the world better and I’m very practical so I have used all of those parts of me to lead.
But you don’t have to be like me and be bold and passionate and practical. Leadership is about how you live your life, it’s what you do every day, it’s how you communicate and connect with people and really it’s how you inspire others to be their best selves. When I was young, I started a travel agency inside a scuba store because I thought it would be fun to travel… at that point in my life it was all about me and I wouldn’t say I was a very good leader.
As I got older and realized that real leadership is about seeing a bigger picture and acting on that vision, I saw opportunities everywhere. I co-founded a non-profit organization that combined my passion for the environment and my business skills because I wanted to be able to help solve some of the big environmental problems we were having at the time and knew that would help many people… and it has. For 3 years as Council President, I led our parent-teacher association in our school district of 12,000 students (5-18 years old) to help them see how they could support the teachers, students, and the environment in different ways. At UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, I was a founding board member and Board Chair for 5 years because I knew that all of us together could help fund research that could have an environmental impact around the world and it does.
There is the invisible part behind everything we can’t see with our eyes, and in great leadership specifically, that means generosity, connection, vision, and a deep sense that the universe is a safe place and there are always opportunities that exist that might not be obvious at first.
One of the reasons that I have chosen to be a life & leadership coach is because it matters how we live every day, how we treat our family and friends and those we don’t know. When we choose to lead from a place of integrity and generosity, it’s possible to serve our clients, support our employees, make good money and make the world better… and we can have a lot of fun along the way.